Best Colleges in Washington for Associate, Bachelor’s & Master’s

Washington College Guide – What You Need to Know

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Washington is a cornerstone of the nation's tech and cultural life. This is the state that birthed Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks, all in the same city. Though their founders may have been educated elsewhere, they relied on their local area to provide the talent they need to thrive. Further, since these companies have risen to prominence, they have donated millions to local educational and cultural institutions while employing countless students.

You can take advantage of this economic boon by seeking out the best colleges and universities in Washington. The state offers some of the nation's premier research universities, fantastically eclectic small public colleges, and much more. Plus, if you live in a western state, you may be able to attend a Washington state institution for the in-state tuition. Likewise, Washington students can attend any public college on the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, and even states as far inland as North Dakota, at the in-state rate.

While the economy in Seattle has been booming for quite some time, it is poised to spread the wealth to other parts of the state. Spokane has been undergoing strong growth lately, and you'll also find new opportunities around Richland, and Yakima.

What are the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in Washington?

Washington's diverse, growing economy is full of bright, forward-thinking individuals who place a high value on education. When state residents look to the hub of the state's economic growth, Seattle, it's obvious that an excellent academic background is the key to success. As it happens the state is home to some of the top colleges and universities, where you can study pretty much any subject you prefer. Washingtonians, however, have their favorites, and you'll find excellent departments to cater to your intellectual preferences.

Washington has cutting edge departments in these top degree fields:

Education Level & National Average Median Compensation


NO FORMAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA ASSOCIATE DEGREE BACHELOR’S DEGREE MASTER’S DEGREE DOCTORAL DEGREE
$30,784* $38,792* $46,124* $64,896* $77,844* $96,772*

Best Associate Degrees in Washington


Earning a two-year associate degree can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to jumpstart your career in many in-demand fields. It can also make attaining an advanced degree more affordable, as credits can often be easily transferred to an undergraduate institution within the state. Applying to one of these excellent associate degree programs available in Washington will open a number of doors leading to both academic and career success. Graduates will have the knowledge and skills necessary to apply for entry-level positions, as well as other advanced degree programs.

Bellingham Technical College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,848
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$6,787
Grads Salary
$43,600
Renton Technical College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
3,755
Graduation Rate
57%
Net Price
$7,595
Grads Salary
$38,800
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
3,319
Graduation Rate
39%
Net Price
$8,283
Grads Salary
$41,400
Cascadia College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,597
Graduation Rate
37%
Net Price
$8,082
Grads Salary
$42,000
Bellevue College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
12,286
Graduation Rate
34%
Net Price
$9,536
Grads Salary
$43,500
Bates Technical College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
4,377
Graduation Rate
37%
Net Price
$6,869
Grads Salary
$38,800
Shoreline Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
5,884
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$8,272
Grads Salary
$40,800
South Seattle College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
5,324
Graduation Rate
40%
Net Price
$9,159
Grads Salary
$37,300
Walla Walla Community College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,940
Graduation Rate
42%
Net Price
$6,770
Grads Salary
$34,300
Green River College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
7,493
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$9,245
Grads Salary
$38,100
Full Ranking Report

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Washington


Many of the four-year institutions in Washington offer a wide assortment of programs designed to provide the knowledge and skills you need to enter the field of your dreams. Choosing one of the state’s top-rated colleges or universities will provide you with the edge you need in a competitive job market, regardless of your concentration. Not only will you be prepared to apply for employment right away, but you will have the credits and experience necessary to enroll in more advanced degree programs as well.

University of Washington
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
48,149
Graduation Rate
82%
Net Price
$9,661
Grads Salary
$80,400
University of Washington-Bothell
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
6,304
Graduation Rate
63%
Net Price
$8,841
Grads Salary
$75,100
University of Washington-Tacoma
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
5,329
Graduation Rate
60%
Net Price
$10,113
Grads Salary
$72,100
Seattle University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
7,199
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$36,843
Grads Salary
$87,300
Western Washington University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
16,142
Graduation Rate
68%
Net Price
$18,398
Grads Salary
$70,700
Pacific Lutheran University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,907
Graduation Rate
71%
Net Price
$25,368
Grads Salary
$74,100
Washington State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
31,607
Graduation Rate
59%
Net Price
$17,931
Grads Salary
$72,300
Gonzaga University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
7,537
Graduation Rate
88%
Net Price
$36,880
Grads Salary
$71,700
Central Washington University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
11,658
Graduation Rate
58%
Net Price
$16,441
Grads Salary
$69,100
Northwest University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,184
Graduation Rate
58%
Net Price
$21,825
Grads Salary
$72,400
Full Ranking Report

Best Master's Degrees in Washington


The state of Washington has a lot to offer students seeking advanced degrees in a variety of fields, from business and law to medicine and engineering. Continuing your education not only enhances your employment prospects but it also provides you with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive as a leader in the industry. Master’s and doctoral degree graduates also tend make more money, qualify for additional career advancement opportunities, and enjoy enhanced job security.

University of Washington
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
48,149
Graduation Rate
82%
Net Price
$9,661
Grads Salary
$80,400
University of Washington-Bothell
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
6,304
Graduation Rate
63%
Net Price
$8,841
Grads Salary
$75,100
University of Washington-Tacoma
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
5,329
Graduation Rate
60%
Net Price
$10,113
Grads Salary
$72,100
Western Washington University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
16,142
Graduation Rate
68%
Net Price
$18,398
Grads Salary
$70,700
Seattle University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
7,199
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$36,843
Grads Salary
$87,300
Pacific Lutheran University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,907
Graduation Rate
71%
Net Price
$25,368
Grads Salary
$74,100
Washington State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
31,607
Graduation Rate
59%
Net Price
$17,931
Grads Salary
$72,300
Central Washington University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
11,658
Graduation Rate
58%
Net Price
$16,441
Grads Salary
$69,100
Gonzaga University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
7,537
Graduation Rate
88%
Net Price
$36,880
Grads Salary
$71,700
Northwest University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,184
Graduation Rate
58%
Net Price
$21,825
Grads Salary
$72,400
Full Ranking Report
Learn about MBA's in Washington

Washington College Tuition Costs Vs Salary Potential


Education is a one-of-a-kind investment. Like all investments, it involves a rather large expenditure. There is no guarantee of a return, yet you cannot grow your portfolio without taking the risk. When you decide to invest in education, you are ultimately investing in yourself and your own abilities. That is part of what makes a bachelor's degree a unique venture. Without an education to help you develop your talents, you might never discover what you are truly capable of. That's partly why colleges require you to take a range of core courses so that you can explore the possibilities. Education is also a unique commodity that nobody can ever take away from you.

However, since you are likely to walk away from graduation with a significant debt load, it's important to take a wise approach to educational costs. First, you want to ensure that you attend a school where your tuition is on in-state rates. As a student in the Western United States, you have a wide range of options. Not only does Washington state offer top-notch institutions, but you can also attend schools in Oregon, California, and many more western states for their in-state tuition. With that variety available, there's little reason to consider a school out of that geographic range.

You can also reduce costs by attending a community college for your first two years of college. There, you can knock out your core curriculum at a reduced cost relative to even an in-state, four-year institution. You could even complete an associate's degree and start work in your field before returning to finish your undergraduate degree.

Finally, you should make a habit of applying to as many grant and scholarship programs as you can each term. Even if you are only awarded a small amount, that is still more money you will never have to repay.

College Cost Analysis - Washington vs National


Average Washington Tuition & Fees at 4 Year Public Schools

In-State Tuition - $7,036

National Average – $9,580

Out-of-State Tuition – $29,228

National Average – $27,437

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid

Washington chalks up some of the lowest numbers for student financial aid in the United States. Though the deviation from the national norm isn't tremendous, Washington is still ranked 21st in terms of receiving the least financial aid. Where #1 ranked New Mexico receives a total of $604 million, the Evergreen State receives $3,400 million. On the one hand, Washington is taking more federal dollars, but the state is also more populous and more residents seek degrees.

Financial Aid Washington Nationally
Received Federal Grants 34% 37.7%
Average $ per Recipient $10,300 $10,927

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a post-secondary institution.
* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Best Scholarships for Washington


Everyone wants to shave down their education budget. You can do that in a lot of ways, but one reliable method is to win scholarships and grants. This is money that you won't have to pay back with interest, and which can be an enormous help to any student, no matter how large or small the award. That is, some scholarships will cover your entire tuition, room and board, and even books, but those are rare. More often you'll find scholarships that award around $500. Though that might not seem like much, even small scholarships help in the short term and they then pay off long-term. When you put a scholarship on your resume, employers will be impressed with your initiative and achievement.

ASEC_logo

ASC

Atlas Shrugged Contest

https://www.aynrand.org/students/essay-contests#overview
Amounts: $2,000 (1st Place); $250 (2nd Place); $100 (3rd Place); $25 (Finalists)
Deadline: Varies (Previously April)
While this more of an essay contest than a true scholarship program, the top prize of $2,000 will go towards helping you fund your studies. To win the contest, you must first read and study Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged. Then, the Ayn Rand Institute has a set of three essay prompts/questions to work from. You may need to read additional Rand writings, but fans will find that this adds to their understanding of her particular philosophy.

NFBSP_logo

NFBSP

National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program

https://nfb.org/programs-services/scholarships-and-awards/scholarship-program
Amounts: $3,000-$12,000
Deadline: March 31
This prestigious scholarship is for visually impaired students with lofty goals. When you become a finalist, the NFB will provide funds to help you attend thier national conference. There, you and other finalists will be screened for the final winner's pool. To apply, be sure that you can prove legal blindness in both eyes, show an outstanding record of academic achievement, and have a number of community service projects to discuss.

KFLP_logo1

KMPGFLP

KPMG Future Leaders Program

https://womensleadership.kpmg.us/charitable.html
Amounts: $10,000 (Renewable for 4 years)
Deadline: January 31
Women who have top academic achievement and financial need can apply for this highly-sought leadership program. When you win this award, you will be flown to Stanford University where you will meet Condoleeza Rice for a series of leadership seminars as well as golf lessons. After the retreat, you will be paired with a mentor from the program who will work with you until the next retreat. This program does more than offer money for college, it grooms young women for a lifetime of leadership.

WSUS_logo

WSUS

Washington State University Scholarships

https://admission.wsu.edu/scholarships/washington-resident/
Amounts: Up to Full Tuition
Deadline: FAFSA & WAFSA Deadlines
WSU students can apply to a number of scholarships that will help them pay for college. In fact, they make it very easy by offering you the WSU scholarship application that casts a wide net for scholarships, you'll need to fill out the FAFSA and WAFSA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid) forms, as well, to prove financial need. Some scholarships covered by this wide net include:

  • Cougar Committment: for low-income Washington residents
  • National Merit Scholarship: you will need a special recommendation for this award
  • Regents Scholars Program: for Washington's best high school students
  • Glenn Terrell Presidential Award: a $4,000 award that is open to first-year and transfer students

UWOMS_logo

UWOMS

University of Washington's Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards

http://expd.uw.edu/scholarships/
Amounts: Varies
Deadline: Varies
University of Washington students have a unique resource at their fingertips. This office helps students identify and apply for scholarships, fellowships, and awards. They will help you hone your application to best appeal to the awarding foundations. Since there are so many scholarships available, having a team on your side to help you sort them all out is an enormous advantage that most students do not have. As soon as you receive your admission letter you should reach out to this department and see how you can start your first year with a scholarship or two.

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